My friend, colleague and survivor-sister, Kelley Harrell, has a new book out entitled GIFT OF THE DREAMTIME (GOTD). It’s a terrific read and a very compelling look into one way that we can access healing potential.
I asked Kelley to answer some questions about the book so I could share it with you….
1. What is GOTD about?
Gift of the Dreamtime is about my experience of spiritual emergency, from childhood through young adulthood, until I sought the help of a shaman to release it. “Spiritual emergency” is a state in which consciousness is expanding at a rate or in a way that is not readily emotionally processed. It is a state of PTSD on a soul level.
At the time, I was just seeking healing for myself. I had held an animistic life perspective, connected with my spirit guides, and embraced shamanism as a way to heal myself, but I hadn’t planned to work as a shaman with others. The book describes how I moved through various levels of awareness of myself, to embrace facilitating healing for others.
2. What inspired you to write this story?
I always knew that I would write about my experiences as a survivor of childhood incest, though every time I sat down to write, it just never felt right. Approaching it in a dry, autobiographical way somehow flattened the experience. I didn’t know how to approach it in a way that wasn’t clichéd or sentimental.
In the spring of 2001 I had a dream, which occurs around Chapter Ten in the book, and that dream jarred my vision of how to write about my experience: from the inside. I realized I wasn’t to write about the experience of my life in the mundane, but in how I experienced the Dreamtime, or spirit worlds.
At that point in the industry, books on shamanism were very academic and anthropological. They described what I call “rearview shamanism,” as something only ancient or indigenous cultures did, not a practice actively growing in modern lives. As well, self-help books followed the same formula: memoir-interpretation-introspective questions for the reader. I didn’t want to write either of those styles, because they weren’t the way shamanism worked for me. I didn’t want to describe my experience to the reader, I wanted to offer an experiential invitation to the reader. Animism is the belief that all things have a soul. I didn’t want to write my life story; I wanted to write the story of my soul.
3. GOTD is your personal journey. How did writing it influence and/or affect your path?
Through the book I’ve gotten to meet people all over the world. As I never planned to work as a shaman, I also never planned to keep writing autobiographical works. Many of my clients met me through the book. After it came out, many opportunities opened to me to publish and sustain the momentum of writing my soul’s story. Primarily, I started my blog, Intentional Insights, which answers reader’s questions on shamanism, paranormal experiences, and modern spiritual paths. Gift of the Dreamtime has given me many opportunities, that I didn’t have before.
4. What do you think is most important to believe as one seeks to heal from trauma?
We have to remember our true selves, the part of us that no matter what happens, happened or will ever happen, is untouched and empowered. That’s a very charged, difficult to hold concept for someone who is experiencing PTSD, particularly when victimization is involved. Yet, there it is. Reconnecting with that core self is everything.
5. What do you think it’s most important to do in order to find your strongest inner guide?
The most important thing to do to connect with your authentic self is to remind yourself to do so. We forget that it’s there, or we think of it once then assume all’s well. This is where mindfulness and spiritual practice meet. This is the “practice” part of spirituality. We are responsible for reminding ourselves of our divinity, and through the power of our minds, we will start to remember. The reminding becomes easier, then does everything else. When we realize our connection to our true selves, hearing its voice behind everything we do becomes easier.
6. What do you hope readers will learn from GOTD?
I hope they will learn that they can rise from their ashes and be powerful. Our culture teaches us to be wounded, and talks about thriving in the wound. We have to move beyond the wound. We have to commit to finding our truths, even if that means letting go of beliefs or thoughts that don’t serve us. I hope that my book imparts insights for how to look beyond what we perceive ourselves to be and find something even greater.
Kelley Harrell is a neoshaman and author in North Carolina. She has been on a shamanic path since 1988, and since 2000 has served her local community and an international client base. Her book, Gift of the Dreamtime: Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma, chronicles her pivotal step into the role of modern shaman. To support her shamanic work, she draws on energy work, hypnotherapy, and flower essences. A modern Druid, Kelley is an ordained interfaith minister. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, and is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity. Kelley writes for several publications, including the Global Goddess Oracle and The Huffington Post, and has been published in many journals and anthologies. Her shamanic practice is Soul Intent Arts, and a major focus of her work is helping modern intuitives assimilate spiritual emergency through private sessions and mentorship in The Tribe of the Modern Mystic Mystery School. Click here to read more about Gift of the Dreamtime .